Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill: Financial Memorandum

Closed 8 Sep 2023

Opened 26 Jun 2023

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


About the Bill

The Bill makes changes to the law to try to improve the experience of victims and witnesses in the justice system. The Bill also makes changes to the criminal justice system to try to improve the fairness, clarity and transparency of the framework within which decisions in criminal cases are made.

At its introduction, the Bill is split into six parts.

Part 1:

  • creates the office of Victims and Witnesses Commissioner for Scotland

Part 2:

  • embeds trauma-informed practice in criminal and civil courts

Part 3:

  • increases the availability of special measures for vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil court proceedings#

Part 4:

  • changes the size of a criminal jury
  • makes rules about majority verdicts and what happens when a juror is dismissed or unable to continue on the jury
  • removes the not proven verdict

Part 5:

  • creates a new sexual offences court and sets out how it will operates within the criminal justice system

Part 6:

  • provides automatic life-long anonymity for victims of sexual offences
  • gives complainers in sexual offence cases an automatic right to independent legal representation when an application is made to introduce evidence about the complainer’s character
  • gives power to the Scottish Ministers to carry out a pilot of rape trials conducted by a single judge

Current Status of the Bill 

This Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs on 25 April 2023.

Read and find out more about the Bill: Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Stage 1 

The Criminal Justice Committee has been designated as the lead Committee for the Bill. A separate call for views on the Bill’s policy provisions has been issued by the lead Committee and has been published on this consultation platform.

Financial Memorandum 

As with all Bills, the Finance and Public Administration Committee invites written evidence on the estimated financial implications of the Bill as set out in its accompanying Financial Memorandum (FM). 

Read the FM published alongside this Bill.

Making a Submission

Before making a submission, please read our Privacy Notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process personal data. 

Please note that in most cases your submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament's website and may be quoted in the Committee's report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast). 

Please use the Questionnaire provided for your submission:

  1. Did you take part in any consultation exercise preceding the Bill and, if so, did you comment on the financial assumptions made?
  2. If applicable, do you believe your comments on the financial assumptions have been accurately reflected in the FM?
  3. Did you have sufficient time to contribute to the consultation exercise?
  4. If the Bill has any financial implications for you or your organisation, do you believe that they have been accurately reflected in the FM? If not, please provide details.
  5. Do you consider that the estimated costs and savings set out in the FM are reasonable and accurate?
  6. If applicable, are you content that your organisation can meet any financial costs that it might incur as a result of the Bill? If not, how do you think these costs should be met?
  7. Does the FM accurately reflect the margins of uncertainty associated with the Bill’s estimated costs and with the timescales over which they would be expected to arise? 

The deadline to submit your views is: Friday 8 September 2023.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the Committee Clerk.


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